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On 31st January 2019 Law 70, which constitutes tax evasion as a criminal offense, was promulgated in the Official Gazette, with entry into force 30 days after its promulgation.

Through this law, Article 254-A has been added to the Criminal Code, which punishes with a sentence of two to four years in prison anyone who has or benefits from assets deriving from crimes against the National Treasury in order to hide, cover or conceal its illicit origin. A fine up to three times the amount of the tax evaded is also applied if the crime was committed through one or more legal persons.

Similarly, Chapter XII, entitled “Crimes against the National Treasure”, was added to Title VII of the Criminal Code with the aim of adapting the legislation on the fight against tax evasion and money laundering.

The new articles provide for sanctions from two to four years for taxpayers who incur tax fraud against the National Treasury and for those who fraudulently obtain exemptions, reimbursements, enjoyment or use of undue tax relief for an amount of three hundred thousand balboa (B / 300,000.00) or more in a single tax period (excluding fines, surcharges and interest). A fine from one to three times the amount of the tax evaded will also be applied to the latter. In the event that a legal entity commits fraud or benefits of it, the penalty will be an amount between the defrauded tax and its double.

The tax authority will be responsible for amounts of less than three hundred thousand balboa (B / .300.000,00).

No custodial sentence will be applied or no criminal action will be executed if the fines imposed will be paid before the first instance judgment or during the investigative phase.

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